Green Clingfish, Cochleoceps viridis Hutchins 1991

A Green Clingfish, Cochleoceps viridis, from Cockburn Sound, Western Australia, April 2019 (photographed in an aquarium) . Source: Glen Whisson / License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

A small slender green clingfish covered in many closely packed very small brown to yellowish brown spots forming longitudinal lines, and short cross bars on the head and body.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Cochleoceps viridis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 13 Jul 2024,

Green Clingfish, Cochleoceps viridis Hutchins 1991

More Info


Endemic to south Western Australia from Israelite Bay at the western edge of the Great Australian Bight to Rottnest Island off Perth. Inhabits sheltered seagrass beds.


Dorsal fin 4-6; Anal fin 4-6; Pectoral fin 17-19; Pelvic fin i, 4; Caudal fin approx 10-12; Vertebrae (total) 32-33.
Body elongate, subcylindrical, tapering to moderately long, compressed caudal peduncle. Head of moderate breadth, flat; snout short; posterior nostril on each side above or behind front margin of eye; eyes moderately small; lips narrow, fleshy; mouth small, reaching to below centre of eyes, jaws of equal length; anterior teeth of lower jaw greatly enlarged, incisor like, projecting forward, others conical; no spines laterally on head; gill openings large, lateral. 
Scales and lateral line absent; some sensory papillae on sides. 
Single, short based dorsal fin close to, but distinctly separated from caudal fin; anal fin similar to and opposite dorsal; caudal fin rounded. Pectoral fins rounded; no fleshy pad ventrally at their bases. Pelvic fins united into a ventral sucking disc of moderate size, consisting of anterior and posterior halves, posterior edge with fleshy fringe.


Overall apple green to pale green, and more rarely a translucent white; head and body with many minute brown spots forming either irregular longitudinal lines with short, broader cross bars on midline of back or a prominent reticulate pattern; golden yellow spots and blotches usually incorporated in above pattern (fading on death); small pale blotches occasionally on dorsal and lateral surfaces; transluscent colour form usually with some indistinct green blotching on dorsal surface and greyish brown blotching laterally; fin rays of similar colour to overall body colour; after death, and especially after preservation, all markings become more reddish pink.

Similar Species

Differs from all other Australian gobiesocids in having the following combination of characters: body slender, ventral disc with papillae on all four regions, subopercular spine absent, six preoperculo-mandibular pores, and greatly enlarged forward-projecting incisor-like teeth in the lower jaw. 

Cochleoceps viridis is most similar to C. spatula, the two being easily separated by differences in snout shape, position of the nostrils, and in dentition. The snout is noticeably shorter in C. viridis (wider than long versus longer than wide in C. spatula). C. viridis also has greatly enlarged, forward projecting incisors in the lower jaw, a feature lacking in C. spatula.


This species is named viridis after its predominantly green coloration.

Species Citation

Cochleoceps viridis Hutchins, 1991, Rec. W. Aust. Mus. 15(3): 656, figs 1-3. Type locality: Emu Point, King George Sound, Western Australia.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Atlas of Living Australia

Green Clingfish, Cochleoceps viridis Hutchins 1991


Conway, K.W., Moore, G. I. & Summers, A.P. 2017. A new genus and species of clingfish (Teleostei: Gobiesocidae) from Western Australia. Copeia 105(1): 128-140

Hoschke, A., Whisson, G. & Moore, G.I. 2019. Complete list of fishes from Rottnest Island pp. 150-161 in Whisson, G. & Hoschke, A. (eds) The Rottnest Island fish book. 2nd ed. Perth : Aqua Marine Monitoring Services.

Hutchins, J.B. 1991. Descriptions of three new species of gobiesocid fishes from southern Australia, with a key to the species of Cochleoceps. Records of the Western Australian Museum 15(3): 655-672. See ref online, open access
Hutchins, J.B. 1994. Family Gobiesocidae, in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) The fishes of Australia's south coast. Flora and Fauna of South Australia Handbooks Committee. State Printer, Adelaide. 1-992.

Hutchins, J.B. 2008. Family Gobiesocidae, pp 722-741, in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37206014

Depth:0-10 m

Habitat:Seagrass beds

Max Size:5 cm TL


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